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Clusters of TV and computer screens beam chatty videos about cooking, travel and wellness books. A music kiosk lets visitors download MP3s or burn CDs, while another offers tips on how to publish your own novel.
Welcome to the newly opened Borders bookstore in Southbury, Conn., which looks less like a traditional branch of the nation's second-largest book chain and more like what customers might see on their home computers.
"We wanted to go beyond selling books, CDs and DVDs and become a headquarters for knowledge and entertainment," said Borders Group Inc. Chief Executive George Jones of the recently opened "concept stores," including one in National City, near San Diego. "We needed to do something new in our stores to compete with all the alternatives people have at home when they shop online."
Marketplace on American Public Media:
Publishing is a world of increased competition, shrinking margins and long waits to see any green. Jill Barshay reports on how publishing houses are coping with changing times.
Marketplace story on American Public Media:
Even in an era of economic downturn and the big box store, independent book store Skylight Books is expanding. Commentator Kerry Slattery says it's all thanks to growing shopper awareness for the impact of local businesses.
Read and listen to full story.
Yesterday you may have seen the notice on LISNEWS that the Borders website in now live. There is an 8 minute piece on NPR about Borders, their website and the magic shelf.
In an effort to shore up flagging sales in an industry plagued by declining purchases, Borders started selling books online Tuesday. New York Times reporter Brad Stone says the company has a new business plan, and that they've also created something called a "Magic Shelf."
Listen to complete piece at NPR.
Publisher's Weekly reports that Borders Web Site is now live.
After seven years of outsourcing its e-commerce function to Amazon, Borders relaunched its Borders.com Web site today under its own control. The site contains many of the same features that the retailer had been beta testing for several months, including The Magic Shelf home page which allows browsers to scan 20 rows of books, face out, and click on any title to get more information on the book, few some text or to buy the title. According to Kevin Ertell, Borders v-p of e-business, the Magic Shelf is designed “to make customers feel they’re browsing one of the front tables at one of our stores.”
Complete story here.
Heidi N. Moore Wonders Would A Bigger Barnes & Noble Kill Independent Bookstores? Deal Journal caught up with Carla Cohen, the proprietor of one of the nation’s best-known independent bookstores: Politics & Prose, in Washington D.C.
You have to be willing not to be rich. A lot of people want to be rich. People who have the skills to operate a business don’t want to operate a small business, and people who are interested in books don’t see themselves as businesspeople. Combining business and books is really difficult. We’re not ever going to have stock options for ourselves, and we make a fairly modest amount of money compared to what a lot of people want to make. You do it because you love it.
"Unless a miracle happens, we'll close at the end of June," Judy Christenson, co-owner with daughter Jen of Imagine That! Children's Bookstore , Riverside, CA told the Business Press. They have owned the bookshop since 2003, when they purchased it from Karen Rosenburg, who had run it since the mid-1970s.
"Times have really changed," Judy added. "When Karen started 30 years ago, there was nothing like it and there was no Internet and no big chains. Today we don't have the school business anymore because of the budget cuts and we can't make it on just walk-by traffic sales anymore."
"The concept of pleasure learning and reading isn't there anymore," said Jen. "These days, parents will buy their kids a $3.99 drink at a coffee shop but pass up a $3.99 book. It's truly a sad commentary on our society today. . . . We love books. If we won the lottery, we'd keep the store open just as a hobby."
...in the Lone Star state?
Taking a tip from the Empire State, here's a report that The State of Texas Comptroller's Office is currently investigating whether the presence of an Amazon.com-run distribution facility in the Dallas suburb of Irving means the online retailing giant has a physical presence in the state. If the Comptroller's Office determines that Amazon.com does have nexus, the retailer would be responsible for collecting and remitting sales tax for purchases made by Texas residents and potentially would be liable for back taxes.
Amazon.com's website notes that it runs fulfillment facilities in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Texas, Nevada, Delaware, Arizona, and Indiana. The company lists customer service centers in North Dakota, West Virginia, and Washington. At present, Amazon only collects sales tax in Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and Washington. Delaware does not charge sales tax.
Bookweb, a publication of the American Booksellers Association has the story.
Bloomberg.com Takes A Look At Robert Miller and his vowed to revolutionary idea to target the practice that allows booksellers to send unsold copies back to publishers for credit. ``In this age of global warming it's insane to be shipping books back and forth across the country for no good reason,'' said Margo Baldwin, president of Chelsea Green Publishing Co. of White River Junction, Vermont. ``It's just a waste of energy and, not only that, it still encourages the overproduction of books -- many of which end up in landfills.''